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You Are the One I Pick



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There seems to a be a lot of bands these days that feature accented females doing a mix of ranting and singing and telling stories over music. I am thinking of Life Without Buildings and Do The Robot, and now, to that group, i add Felix. This album came out a few years back, but i just managed to track down a copy and wanted to talk about it.

The music is complex post-rock with strings and piano, and the voice flows between a hurried ranting and light singing. The vocalist is one Lucinda Chua, and her voice is mixed high and clear, as if she was recorded in a different room and/or at a different time than the music. (This is different than Do the Robot, where the voice is almost about to be swallowed by the guitar, which is RIGHT OVER THERE and guitars are louder than women who do not project their voice...) This layering works to Felix's advantage, as it allows the vocals to be very clear while not forcing Ms. Chua to push her voice. Her voice comes across as delicate and light, something that a different recording technique might have ruined.

I actually had this album for a few months before it grabbed my attention. I listened to it and liked it enough to rip the CD to my Zune, and then a week or so ago i was standing in my kitchen cooking while listening to the Zune on shuffle, and an utterly lovely song came up in the mix. A bare piano echoed, accompanied by a stringed instrument (cello perhaps) sawing away, and a female voice almost whispering. It is quiet and calm and very lovely, a bare hint of a song called What I Learned From TV. it grabbed my attention so fully that i had to walk over to the player to see who it was.

Since then i have listened to this album a good bit, and on the whole it is pretty engaging. There are eleven songs in just over half an hour, and i find this to be an enjoyable listen. Aside from What I Learned From TV, which is a stunning tune, let me detail a few favorites.

The awesomely titled Death to Everyone But Us features Ms. Chua singing and ranting accompanied by light piano. Some strings saw through towards the end, almost overpowering her voice for a lovely effect. You Are the One I Pick is a guitar based tune, with Chris Summerlin playing lightly, just a scattering of notes, each allowed to reverberate on their own. The guitar here reminds me of The For Carnation. Really nice. I also like his guitar on Bernard St., where he plays in a light and very sparse manner that seems to be a fusion of late Red House Painters and The Dirty Three.

Back In Style features drummer Elv Beetham playing an abbreviated style with strange high-hat hits that sounds like he is trying to do a hip-hip drum sample on his kit. There are strings, some chiming guitar, and Chua speaking rapidly, all of which combine in a fascinating way.

But really, there are no bad tracks here. This is quality post-rock. I wonder if we will ever hear more from this band?

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